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Spring Cannot be Cancelled

David Hockney in Normandy - A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Mr Martin Gayford, David Hockney


David Hockney reflects upon life and art as he experiences lockdown in rural Normandy

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‘We have lost touch with nature, rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it. This will in time be over and then what? What have we learned?... The only real things in life are food and love, in that order, just like [for] our little dog Ruby... and the source of art is love. I love life.'
David Hockney

On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to live a life of simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year before, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.

Spring Cannot be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and the art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new, unpublished Normandy drawings and paintings alongside works by van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel and others.

We see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years, yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, colour, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see … but about how to live.

A Sunday Times bestseller


'Hockney and Gayford … make a good double act: Hockney’s questing vision, Gayford’s clear-eyed prose. They share an irrepressible interest in just about everything ... This book is not so much a celebration of spring as a springboard for ideas about art, space, time and light ... scholarly, thoughtful and provoking'
The Times

'Gloriously illustrated … It’s a book about many things – Hockney’s love of France and French painting, his reflections on many other artists among them. But at its heart is this octogenarian’s adoration of nature, his belief that art is rooted in love, and a restless gusto for life'
Andrew Marr, The Spectator

'Hockney and Gayford’s exchanges are infused with their deep knowledge of the history of art … This is a charming book, and ideal for lockdown because it teaches you to look harder at the things around you'
Lynn Barber, The Spectator

'Designed to underscore [Hockney’s] original message of hope, and to further explore how art can gladden and invigorate ... meanders amiably from Rembrandt, to the pleasure principle, andouillette sausages and, naturally, to spring'
Daily Telegraph

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 22.9 x 15.2 cm

Extent: 280 pp

Publication date: 25 March 2021

ISBN: 9780500094365

Contents List

1 An unexpected move
2 Studio work
3 La vie française: French life in a Bohemian style
4 Lines and time
5 A merry Christmas and an unexpected New Year
6 Locked down in paradise
7 A house for an artist and a painter’s garden
8 The sky, the sky!
9 Sumptuous blacks and subtler greens
10 Several smaller splashes
11 Everything flows
12 Rippling lines and musical spaces
13 Lost (and found) in translation
14 Picasso, Proust, and pictures
15 Being somewhere
16 Full moon in Normandy

About the Author

David Hockney is perhaps the most critically acclaimed artist of our age. He has produced work in almost every medium and has stretched the boundaries of all of them. His bestselling Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters is also published by Thames & Hudson, as are his previous books in partnership with Martin Gayford: A Bigger Message and A History of Pictures. Martin Gayford is art critic for the Spectator. His books include Modernists & Mavericks, Man with a Blue Scarf, A Bigger Message, Rendez-vous with Art (with Philippe de Montebello), A History of Pictures (with David Hockney), and, most recently, The Pursuit of Art, all published by Thames & Hudson.